#EarthDay Reading Essentials : John Muir

Happy Earth Day!!! I wish everyday was earth day.  In fact, in my life everyday IS earth day! But, it is still great to have a real day to recognize how important our earth is to us and to appreciate its vast sublime and beauty.  For Earth Day this year I wanted to talk a little bit about nature writings and highlight one of my favorites, John Muir.  

One of the biggest things about living in the city is that some days there isn't a way for me to get out and hug a tree.  Like most people I still have to work, clean the house, take care of my family, and deal with all of life's usual stresses.  I love living a few blocks away from a great coffee shop and thrive off of the creative atmosphere of Los Angeles, but it also means that nature isn't as accessible as it would be if I lived secluded in the mountains. So, I have to find creative ways to reap the benefits of nature and all its glory while still living a metropolitan lifestyle.

The number one way I sneak in a little wilderness (other than hiking everyday) is by tapping into the expansive collection of nature books, writings, and authors that have so eloquently described what it feels like to sit on top a mountain.  I have a lot of favorites that have inspired me over the years, but today I want to talk about John Muir.  Muir was the founder of the Sierra Club and is considered one of the most influential conservationist and nature writers in American history.  Not only did he write beautifully about the American West but he also fought for its preservation.  If not for him there would be even less areas of dense wilderness for us to explore today.  

The Mountains of California  

Go where you may within the bounds of California, mountains are ever in sight, charming and glorifying every landscape.
— John Muir

The Mountains of California is a meticulously detailed account of the California mountains.  You can so vividly imagine what it felt like for him to hike the unknown wilderness of the mountains and he does such an amazing job helping you to understand its beauty.  Reading this you ALMOST don't wish to run away into the past in order to get a glimpse of what he was witnessing because it is so beautifully described on the page. I read this when I want to feel closer to the trees and to get inspired to adventure far away from any inkling of civilization.       

Wilderness Essays

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul
— John Muir

Wilderness Essays is a collection of some of Muir's finest wilderness essays, ranging from Alaska to Yellowstone, from Oregon to the High Sierra.  If you like being outdoors and experiencing nature even if it's just once in awhile I highly recommend this collection.  It's broad enough to capture the attention of any kind of nature lover and simple enough to make it accessible and rich.  I think the reason John Muir inspires me so much is his pure passion to do what he loved.  I think most of us struggle with the balance between what we do everyday and what we truly love in our souls.  Muir gave his life to what he believed at his core and he continues to inspire this in people today.

The Wilderness World of John Muir 

The Wilderness World of John Muir is one of my favorite collections of his writings.  The book was edited by a naturalist and nature lover who really understands Muir and therefor makes up a unique collection of only the best.  You can really feel the peace that Muir felt as he explored the wilderness alone.   

So, on this Earth Day go home after your long day of work and read about a walk in the woods. I promise it will center you and remind you of what's important and inspire you to be your best you.  We can't all live in the wilderness or have the time to venture out everyday so reading about nature is a perfect way to compliment your hikes and adventures.  Happy Earth Day!!!